Hannah Honnef may have German heritage and grew up on a vineyard, but she says her decision to join the beverage industry was not inevitable.
In fact, the decision came after she toyed with ideas of becoming a maths and chemistry teacher or a social worker before she realised that she could combine her love of science with her creative side by making beer.
“After school I travelled to Germany, when I was 17, and spent seven months in Europe and that’s kind of where I fell in love with beer and really connected with our family over there and the German heritage,” she recalls.
“I just fell in love with the German beers and came back and after a year or so of trying a number of things at uni I realised that I didn’t really want to work anywhere but here (Ocean View Estates Winery).”
“I started off just doing winemaking and then talked to Dad about doing beer. Dad always wanted to do beer but didn’t have time and so I took it on as my little project.”
The Ocean View Brewing Company is part of a growing craft beer industry in the region.
“That was two years ago. The first six months was just experimenting and now we’re doing 500-litre brews,” Hannah says.
The 23-year-old has created a handful of different varieties which she hopes will appeal to beer lovers and also those who have not enjoyed a frothy one in the past. So, how long does it take to create a brew she’s happy with?
“That’s a hard question – sometimes it’s really quick, sometimes I just have it in my head and I can taste the flavours all together before it’s even finished, before I even start brewing and it works out exactly how I wanted it,” she says.
“Other times, for example the pale ale, (there) has been a lot of fiddling around and getting the balance of hops right.”
She knows she has got it right when she and her mum enjoy it, and she will often ask restaurant customers for their feedback.
“Craft beer is different because it’s smaller scale, it’s a lot more hands-on and we spend a lot of time playing around with different flavours and I think it’s also just the care and attention and love that goes into it that’s different,” Hannah says.
“I’m creating the recipe, the style, I’m involved in the brewing process, I’m involved in the filtering, I’m involved in the bottling. It’s really handcrafted as opposed to commercially mass-produced.”
While Hannah’s goal is to convert more women to drinking beer, she says her flavours are not targeted at just the female drinker.
“I guess they’re more just a reflection of me and what I love. They tend to be less hopped. Guys love them,” Hannah says.
“It’s all about balancing flavours and making the beers tasty with a certain delicateness and balance to them so everything is integrated and nothing is too over the top.
“It’s making it really tasty so that when you have one you’re really happy to go back and have a second.”
In the short term Hannah is keen to share her creations with more beer-fanatics while ensuring she can keep up with demand from Ocean View Estates cellar door and restaurant customers.
“Our main vision is to increase our production and to start distributing to places around Brisbane and a few bottle shops,” she says.
French Kiss (chocolate porter)
She’s Gone Pale (pale ale)
My Bouquet (delicate, gluten-free hibiscus saison)
Wattle We Do (Scottish ale fermented with roasted wattle seeds)
Where: Ocean View Estates Winery and Restaurant 2557 Mount Mee Rd, Ocean View
Details: 3425 3800 or visit oceanviewestates.com.
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